Juul Voluntarily Pulled E-cigarette Flavors In The US. Why Didn’t It Do The Same In Canada?

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter
  • The FDA says its statistics on teen e-cigarette use show that widespread e-cigarette use, like those sold by Juul Labs, is reversing a trend of falling teen tobacco use rates.
  • Juul took steps to cut its appeal to minors on Nov. 13, but its critics say the company has already cemented its popularity with teens.
  • Juul’s critics question the company’s sincerity since the company pulled flavors in the U.S. but not in Canada.

E-cigarette giant Juul voluntarily pulled many of its controversial e-cigarette flavors from convenience stores in the U.S. in mid-November, but some of its e-cigarette flavors are still on shelves in neighboring Canada, an anti-tobacco expert told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Even while Juul with great fanfare announced it was going to pull mango, cucumber and creme off the shelves in the U.S., when asked, they said they did not intend to take the same action in Canada because the Canadians weren’t about to come down on them like a ton of bricks,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told TheDCNF.

Canada has never allowed Juul’s “creme” flavor because of a ban on candy and dessert e-cigarette flavors, but mango, fruit and cucumber are available there, reported CBC.

“The Canadian and US markets are different, and we do not believe that a one-size fits all approach to the Canadian and U.S. markets is appropriate,” Juul spokesperson Victoria Davis told TheDCNF via email Tuesday. “All flavors are compliant with Canadian regulations. Flavors have been shown to be important in helping adult smokers make the switch away from combustible tobacco.” (RELATED: Did Juul Build Its E-Cigarette Empire By Marketing To Teens?)

Juul’s Nov. 13 announcement that it would temporarily stop selling several flavors of its e-cigarette pods in the U.S. came after rumors of a proposal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to crack down on underage usage of nicotine products manufactured by Juul and other companies including Altria and R.J. Reynolds.

Critics of e-cigarettes claim many teens who would otherwise not use nicotine start vaping because of the variety of flavors like cotton candy, mango and even mimosa that cut the harshness of tobacco. Juul, which controls roughly 70 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market and is worth roughly $16 billion, has been accused of marketing its products to teenagers.

An illustration shows a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC on October 2, 2018. EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images

An illustration shows a man exhaling smoke from an electronic cigarette in Washington, DC on October 2, 2018. EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images

Juul’s differing actions in the two countries was something “that people didn’t notice,” Myers told TheDCNF.

“They didn’t pull this product because they were concerned about you. They pulled this product because the FDA had a gun to their head,” Myers told TheDCNF.

Customers must be 21 to purchase Juul products on the company’s U.S. website and 19 to purchase through Juul’s Canada website. People 18 and older can buy tobacco products in the U.S., while Canada’s smoking age is 19.

But like the FDA in the U.S., the country’s public health department Health Canada wants to cut down on underage use of e-cigarettes.

“In addition to enforcing regulations that prohibit the sale of vaping products to people under age 18,” Health Canada spokesperson Anna Maddison told CBC, “the Government of Canada will soon be introducing a new public education campaign to increase awareness about the harms and risks associated with vaping product use among youth aged 13 to 18.”

An illustration shows the contents of an electronic Juul cigarette box in Washington, DC October 2, 2018. EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images

An illustration shows the contents of an electronic Juul cigarette box in Washington, DC October 2, 2018. EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images

E-cigarettes containing nicotine were illegal in Canada until May, according to the Canadian government.

Juul’s U.S. actions came the same week the FDA announced a “dramatic” uptick in middle and high school students who reported being current e-cigarette users in 2018.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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